The comedy, starring, written and directed by Tom Hanks, was released on October 4, 1996, and told the story of the rise and fall of a fictional 1960s one-hit wonder pop band, The Wonders. ET virtually reunited the "band," actors Tom Everett Scott, Johnathon Schaech, Steve Zahn and Ethan Embry, for the film’s big milestone.
"It's been good to see it celebrated. It's a good feeling for us to see you guys enjoy it so much," Embry tells ET's Nischelle Turner of people continuing to celebrate the film, with Zahn sharing what part of the film stuck with him the most. "For me it was all the stuff at the beginning before we ever shot. The excitement of being a part of something that you knew was great. Most gigs they're great in hindsight because they become these movies that do well and people enjoy. But it's very rare to be involved in something where you know from the onset that it's something really special. And this one was, we knew was huge, and all those days at the beginning, rehearsing and hanging."
The guys remember being put in a rock and roll boot camp for the film, with Zahn calling it "extensive."
"[Producer] Gary Goetzman and Tom Hanks both wanted us to be at the point where we could play anything that was required of the film so that they didn't have to worry about us, they could just shoot the movie," he recalls. "Ethan was, he is, a great bass player. We had personal teachers, we rehearsed as a band for hours and hours and hours, days and days and days without even looking at the script. And that was the important thing to those guys."
Embry adds that he stills plays, noting, "I think I was 16 or 17 when we shot that, so I would say now I'm a musician but back then I definitely wasn't a musician. I would even argue that Steve came in as stronger guitar skills. Unless you fooled all of us Steve, because when I first saw you play I was very impressed."
As for Schaech, he has his guitars. "I have a guitar in the living room which I play around with, but I really haven’t gotten any better."
Scott adds, "I have a drum kit and I can play that one beat, but that beat goes to a lot of songs, so I'm good."
As for working with Hanks, Schaech says, "Anything that he said was like gold."
That Thing You Do!'s titular song was a huge hit and was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Original Song. The film also featured Hanks' son, Colin Hanks, making his feature film debut, and his wife, Rita Wilson, also made a cameo. Hanks also gave big breaks to a 19-year-old Live Tyler and a 20-year-old Charlize Theron.
Meanwhile, The Wonders will be back together again on Sept. 4, as SeaWolves hosts the official The Wonders reunion at UPMC Park in Erie, Pennsylvania, where the film took place. They will sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." The SeaWolves will wear custom Wonders jerseys that are going to be auctioned off.
"All the proceeds go to a charity called NoticeAbility which is for students who have dyslexia," shares Schaech. "Three out of the four of us have dyslexia, so that was one of the encouraging things for this event."